Why We Need to Move Together Outside

The "Moving Together Outside" campaign increases access to outdoor spaces to help increase physical activity in all communities, especially those most vulnerable to lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Get-Fit Guy interviews the campaign's spokesperson, Dr. Amy Bantham for the details.

Brock Armstrong
4-minute read
Episode #540
The Quick And Dirty

The creators and supports of the Move Together Outside campaign believes increased physical activity opportunities for community members will help participants:

  • Reduce stress through exercising
  • Improve their mental health by being outside and exercising
  • Reduced health inequity in communities that need it most
  • More engaged community
  • Improved community health
  • Increased economic opportunity for businesses and individuals

The Moving Together Outside campaign, created by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has a big goal -- to increase the number of shared-use agreements across the United States. These agreements are created between two parties (like a city and a community) and allow for an outdoor space to be used when not otherwise occupied.

I had a chat with the Moving Together Outside spokesperson, Dr. Amy Bantham, to learn more about this campaign and how we can all get involved. Listen to the full audio interview or get the highlights below: 

Dr. Amy Bantham is the CEO and Founder of Move to Live More. She has 20 years of experience working in consulting, health and fitness, and healthcare. She holds a doctorate from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with concentrations in Health Communication and Obesity Epidemiology & Prevention. Her doctoral project focused on physician exercise prescriptions/referrals and patient exercise behavior change. She is a certified group exercise instructor, personal trainer, and health and wellness coach. Dr. Bantham also holds a Master of Science from Northeastern University, a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.

Here's what she had to say:

Move to Live More

"I think that there are tremendous barriers to accessing physical activity. I actually launched Move to Live More as part of my doctoral fieldwork while looking at integrating health care and health and fitness in communities, through physician exercise referrals. And so I recognized that integrating those three sectors was critical to addressing chronic disease and physical inactivity. I launched Move to Live More really looking at ways to increase access -- safe, affordable, convenient ways for broader population groups to become more physically active." 

"We have a really significant physical inactivity crisis and obesity crisis in the U.S. and it's been exacerbated by COVID. We have decreased physical activity levelsa dn at the same time, we have increased attention on the extent to which physical inactivity and obesity are risk factors for severe illness from COVID. And that is one reason why I was really drawn to the Moving Together Outside campaign when ACE fitness approached me about being the spokesperson for it. It absolutely fit in with my mission and vision of expanding access to physical activity."

Move together outside logoMoving Together Outside campaign

"I live next door to a subway station. And I also live next door to a community park. And the park is underutilized. And during the pandemic, local health and fitness studios and professionals were there with their students and clients using the park to provide safe, structured physical activity programs and classes. And they were able to do that by working with our city government to reduce restrictions and expand access to the park. They were able to secure permits at affordable prices and bring their students and clients outdoors."

"That's really at the heart the Moving Together Outside campaign. It's working with city governments to reduce restrictions, through permits, through shared use agreements, and expand access for people who need this type of outdoor activity the most. So it really improves population health, it makes these parks and playgrounds and schoolyards more utilized when they might sit dormant."

"I think that COVID has provided a window of opportunity. But I think that it is a campaign that has long-term benefits. It is bringing physical activity to where people are. It's bringing it out into the community. It's setting up a structure where credentialed qualified fitness professionals have a way to provide safe programming and to reach more and more members of the population. And it's a win for municipal governments who are looking for ways to improve the health of their community residents."

The benefits of exercising outside

"I think that we know the health benefits of physical activity. And we know the health benefits of being outdoors in nature. And I think the pandemic has really shined a light on the fact that we are stressed, our mental health has suffered, we're isolated, we're not moving, we're gaining weight (I think it's an average of 29 pounds weight gain per person) with I think over two-thirds of Americans reporting undesired weight gain. We've got problems and we're looking for solutions."

The pandemic has really shined a light on the fact that we are stressed, we're isolated, we're gaining weight, our mental health has suffered.

"So if the solutions that we're looking at can be innovative, like the Moving Together Outside campaign, then there are tremendous mental and physical health benefits that can be gained."

Where to find Dr. Amy Bantham

The Move to Live More Podcast - movetolivemore.com/podcast
Instagram - instagram.com/movetolivemore
Twitter - twitter.com/MovetoLiveMore
Facebook - facebook.com/MovetoLiveMore

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Brock Armstrong Get-Fit Guy

Brock Armstrong was the host of the Get-Fit Guy podcast between 2017 and 2021. He is a certified AFLCA Group Fitness Leader with a designation in Portable Equipment, NCCP and CAC Triathlon Coach, and a TnT certified run coach. He is also on the board of advisors for the Primal Health Coach Institute and a guest faculty member of the Human Potential Institute.